If there's one thing I can't stand, it's waiting. I especially can't stand waiting for help when I know I can fix a problem myself as long as I have the right tools. That's why I have a portable inflator in my car just in case I am somewhere with a low or flat tire tires. It's a little insurance policy that can help me get back on the road safely and quickly.

To help you or a loved one in dealing with them Emergency tire problemsI've compiled a list of the most popular Roadshow portable tire inflators. These best recommendations for portable car tire inflators are based on user reviews on popular shopping sites, and most importantly, hands-on experience. Following our recommendations, here are some tips on what to look for in a take-away tire inflator before throwing away your hard-earned cash.

EP car

The EPAuto 12 volt portable air compressor is perfect for most applications. It weighs just 3.8 pounds and measures 13.5 by 8.1 by 5.6 inches. This portable air pump for your car tire can deliver a maximum pressure of 70 psi and an air flow of 1.06 cubic feet per minute. The power cord on the pump is 9 feet long and the air hose is 2.5 feet long. This should be enough to reach all four tires on most vehicles.

With a screw-on tire liner, you can adjust and forget about it, and the EPAuto-Inflator will stop at a preset air pressure. It also turns itself off from overheating. The digital display can measure the tire pressure in KPA, PSI, BAR, KG / CM. It also comes with a built-in LED work light, its own carrying case, and various adapters for ventilating sports equipment. It's also a hit when owners score 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon, based on 14,000+ reviews.

A few precautions: the portable compressor can draw up to 15 amps. So make sure that your 12 volt cigarette lighter socket is suitable for the power supply. Otherwise, you could go through some backups. Also, keep your car running while using the 12 volt air compressor to avoid draining the battery.

Viair

This compressor pump gets props to be quiet and to fill larger 33-inch tires relatively quickly. It measures 6.75 by 6.25 by 10.75 inches and comes in at 4.5 pounds. The maximum pressure on the Viair is 120 psi and the air flow is 1.47 CFM. The power cord on this car tire air generator is 9 feet long while the air hose is 12 feet long, making it ideal for larger trucks.

As with the EPAuto Compressor, there is a screw chuck, but the Viair needs to be plugged directly into the battery and not a cigarette lighter socket. It comes with a three-piece accessory kit for inflating other inflatable items such as sports and home appliances and has a built-in air pressure gauge. Some reviews showed it came with a tote bag while other customers didn't receive one.

This portable tire inflator comes in second due to its higher price and lack of an auto-stop function, but those who drive larger vehicles are sure to find the Viair 88P portable air compressor to be good value for money. And it's popular with owners who get 4.7 out of 5 stars based on nearly 3,800 customer reviews.

Black and Decker

If you want to get rid of the cord, try the Black and Decker 20V Max cordless tire inflator. This air compressor pump is perfect if you already have a set of Black and Decker tools that run on a 20 volt battery. Just take one of these off your workbench and you are solid. This air pump can also be powered from the 12V DC cigarette lighter socket in your car or a 120 volt AC outlet that many newer cars have.

A threaded chuck holds the connection to the tire valve and an automatic switch-off ensures that you do not over-inflate your tires. I like the easy-to-read digital tire pressure gauge that shows the psi of your tire even when no air is being pumped. It weighs about five pounds and at 11.6 x 7.6 x 8.7 inches it doesn't take up too much space in your trunk.

This digital tire inflator is available with either low or high pressure, so you can use it to inflate an air mattress without having to worry about your guests getting kablooey. An emptying function cleans the air quickly and makes packing easier. It also comes with accessories for filling up bicycle tires and various sports balls. And this rechargeable tire inflator has proven extremely popular with hundreds of owners, giving it an average score of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Note, however, that the battery and charger for this street air compressor are sold separately if you don't already have a 20 volt battery in your garage.

Ryobi

If you're an 18 volt battery, check out the Ryobi Cordless Power Inflator. This small hand-tire inflator is smaller than the Black and Decker and works with the 18-volt Ryobi One Plus battery system. An overwhelming 91% of users on the Home Depot website would recommend the Ryobi for inflating tires.

There is a digital pressure gauge display for accurate tire pressure measurements. The Ryobi weighs less than four pounds and has a compact size of 17.90 x 7.7 x 3.4 inches. It's also a pistol grip and doesn't have an auto shutoff. However, the inflator here is equipped with a 1.5 Ah lithium-ion battery and a charger.

House bell

What I like here is the petite size of the house bell, which is 8 by 3.5 by 6.2 inches and less than 2 pounds. The power cord is nearly 10 feet long and the air hose is nearly 2 feet long so it can reach all four tires on a small car.

The Hausbell air pump connects directly to your car's 12-volt cigarette lighter socket. A digital display makes it easy to see what vehicle tire pressures you are using, and an auto shut-off lets users set the pressure they want and forget about it without worrying about the tires being overfilled. A built-in LED flashlight will help if you need to use it at night. When you need to fill up a bike tire, ball, inflatable pool, or pool toy, this House Bell Air Pump comes with accessories to make it happen. However, it is not suitable for high pressure items such as a stand-up paddleboard.

This little air compressor isn't as fast as the other portable inflator options on this list. It takes five minutes to inflate a 195 / 55R15 tire. It can only run for 10 minutes before needing a break to cool down and get the job done with minimal effort. Based on nearly 3,000 reviews, it gets a strong 4.4 out of 5 stars.

ARB

The bad thing about all of the above air compressors is that they just don't have the power to fill a larger SUV tire, truck tire, or a high pressure tire like an RV tire or a trailer tire. This is where the portable air compressor ARB Twin Motor comes in.

This tire pump connects directly to the battery for maximum performance and a 1 hour duty cycle from overheating. The power cord is long enough to allow you to stand the device on the floor, even if it's plugged into a Jeep with 37-inch tires and 19-foot air tubing.

The ARB has a pressure switch that can regulate the pressure between 135 psi and 150 psi. This is sufficient to operate any compressed air tools that may be present. Also, this portable air pump can achieve 6.16 cubic feet per minute of airflow with no load or 4.65 CFM at 29 psi. You won't get that high flow from a lightweight portable air compressor pump.

However, this device is heavy, around 33 pounds, and quite large. The tote bag measures 19.5 x 14.5 x 7.75 inches. It's expensive too. Still, it should never let you down, whether in the garage or on the trail, scoring an impressive 4.7 out of 5 on hundreds of owner reviews.

comparison of the best portable tire inflators in 2021

Tire inflator Size (in) Air hose length (ft) Power cord length (ft) Max PSI price Other properties
Best portable tire inflator overall

Portable air compressor and tire inflator EPAuto

13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6

2.5

9

70

$ 32

Automatic shutdown, screw-on chuck

Best portable tire inflator in second place

Viair 88P portable air compressor

6.75 x 6.25 x 10.75

12

9

120

$ 72

High airflow that can fill larger tires

Best wireless portable 20v tire inflator

Black and Decker Max cordless tire inflator

11.6 x 7.6 x 8.7

3

10

160

$ 65

If the battery is discharged, 12 volts or 120 alternating current, can also be used to drain objects

Best 18v wireless portable tire inflator

Ryobi P737 battery inflator

10.25 x 8.5 x 6.5

1.7

n / A

150

$ 59

Small in size, comes with a battery and charger

Best Value Portable Tire Inflator

HAUSBELL portable air compressor

8×3.5×6.2

1.9

9.8

150

$ 30

Compact size, long power cord, low price

Best high performance portable tire inflator

Portable air compressor ARB Twin Motor

19.5 x 14.5 x 7.75

19th

8th

150

$ 872

Runs for an hour without overheating, can be used for pneumatic tools and extra large tires

Why should you buy a portable tire inflator?

A portable air compressor pump is an important piece of equipment that drivers should carry in their vehicles. Driving on improperly inflated tires can result in poor fuel economy and uneven tire wear. In addition, tires can slowly lose air even without a flat tire. If you have a puncture and fix it with a connector kit, you need a tire inflator to get back on the road.

If you have a portable inflator with you, you don't have to wait for roadside assistance or hobble to your local dealer or service center. And when was the last time the air compressor at the gas station was either A) working or B) you had quarters to actually start the damn thing?

What should I look for in a portable tire inflator?

There are a few key features to look out for before purchasing a portable air compressor pump. Make sure the air tube is long enough to reach all four tires. If you're driving a compact car this probably isn't a problem, but if you're rocking a Mondo GMC Yukon XL, you'll need more tubing.

You should also look at air pressure. The bigger your tires, the more pressure you want. Some pump units switch off automatically as soon as a set psi is reached. This is helpful when you don't want to stand around watching the display or accidentally have overfilled tires.

Most portable air compressors are powered by your car's 12-volt power source. You can also purchase a cordless inflator, but you may need to purchase the battery and charger separately. Some heavy duty air compressors plug directly into your car's battery because they require more juice than a cigarette lighter can not deliver.

Black-and-Decker-Main

A portable tire inflator is a great way to fill up your car's shoes or household items while on the go.

Black and Decker

A central part of an emergency car

Without question, having a portable tire inflator as part of your goodies bag pouch that won't break the bank is an excellent idea – unless you jump on something like the ARB unit above. Plus, the LED flashlight, tire pressure gauge, portable jump starter and first aid kit are very well equipped for most roadside emergencies and keep you from being stranded in the cold.

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